fossilover

How Do You Display And Catalog Your Micros?

56 posts in this topic

Hi guys - my collection of microfossils is getting quite large (on a micro-scale :P ) and I am trying to decide on how best to display them. I want to set something up in my house so that most of the good ones can be seen without being handled too much and consequently buried in the carpet. Most of them are currently separated by ziploc bags by date, location, species, etc. I have tried the cardboard coin holders, but they don't seem to work for me for a number of reasons. How do all of you display your micros, or have you seen any good ideas floating around?

Also, what are some good ways to tag and catalog them?

Below are just a few of my many microfossils. Enjoy!

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Edited by fossilover

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I have no idea. :)

I have a couple tiny forams and ostracods that are currently sitting in little vials. Many more still need to be separated from residue. I'd like to put them in one of those slides with the tiny individual cells. I don't want to glue them down, but I don't want them to get stuck in or fall out through a gap.

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Over the years, I've collected quite a number of micros and am especially interested in ostracodes. Before they're mounted, I mostly keep them in gelatin capsules, which you can buy online or, in a lot of places, at the local drug store. They're just clear plastic capsules the size of a cold pill, but empty. They're very cheap. What's less cheap, but very rewarding if you want to pursue micropal seriously, are the slides and holders made specifically for them, such as those here: http://www.biotecmicroslides.co.uk/products.html. You need the cardboard base with compartments or numbered spaces, a glass slide, and an aluminum holder. You'll also need a mounting medium such as gum tragacanth (hard to find these days, but it's there if you're persistent) and a variety of other tools that aren't hard to come buy such as natural-bristle brushes, etc. I catalog my microfossils the same way I do macrofossils, with an acquisition number and then a database entry, but you could do some less complex version of the same. The important thing, as always, is making sure you keep your labels clear, especially when dealing with small vials, capsules, etc.

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Please post the technique/equipment you used for your photos. A printed 3X5 photo of each microfossil would enhance any display method that did not include a magnifying device.

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I too use coin holders and I agree they are not the most ideal but with that said they do work for the most part. A few of my bigger micro's I keep in small ziplock bigs (I think they are made for jewelry beads or something like that).

I have seen small plastic boxes with magnifying glasses built into the top of the box for micro's but I don't own any so I can't say if they are any good or not.

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Please post the technique/equipment you used for your photos. A printed 3X5 photo of each microfossil would enhance any display method that did not include a magnifying device.

I used a cheap computer "microscope" similar to the one on this eBay listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2MP-800X-USB-Digital-Microscope-Endoscope-8-LED-Magnifier-Camera-Cam-PC-Computer-/300835943056?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item460b383290

Basically I took my pictures by laying the microfossils on a U.S. dime for size reference and placed that on top of a white ceramic dinner plate. The microscope came with a stand and a built in LED light so there was no really detailed technique that was used. :) I do wish I had saved up a bit for a better microscope, but it was much better than what I started with. Great idea on the photo print outs - thanks!

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I know these are teeny tiny, but I have some pretty small specimens also and I've found the smallest sized Riker Mount (approx. 2" x 3") works fine. That and a good magnifying glass and You're good to go.

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Responding to your post got me thinking about what I want to do with my own micros. Here is an expansion of the photo idea. For my displayed pieces I use a "business card" printing program and card stock. This is available at any office supply store. I think the program was a free download after buying the card stock. As you can see, I include basic ID info and a spiffy line drawing cribbed off the Internet. A displayed reference # refers back to more detailed info kept in a log book. I am thinking of printing similar relevant material on larger stock and affixing the photo and the specimen itself (encapsulated in small coin holder?) to the page. The pages could then be displayed in an album... or propped on an easel or laid in a display table, etc.

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Micropaleontology slides are also available in the US from Wards Natural Science and Green Geological.

Karl

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...For my displayed pieces I use a "business card" printing program and card stock. This is available at any office supply store. I think the program was a free download after buying the card stock. As you can see, I include basic ID info and a spiffy line drawing cribbed off the Internet. A displayed reference # refers back to more detailed info kept in a log book. I am thinking of printing similar relevant material on larger stock and affixing the photo and the specimen itself (encapsulated in small coin holder?) to the page. The pages could then be displayed in an album... or propped on an easel or laid in a display table, etc.

This is a fantastic system!

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these are some Cretaceous fossils from Monmouth County, NJ from John/fossilsofnj.I was trying to keep up learning about some of this material when John made this set for me along with a corresponding legend.His method must include applying heat to the coin holder because they stay in place wonderfully.

I've since bought both the card stock and acrylic coin holders, and am using both, tho the acrylic are pretty pricey at .50 each.

I am also using gem jars in a tray of 50 with foam inserts to hold the gem jars, these are available online, at around 13.00 per tray with jars.

I have much better individual pictures coming, but couldn't resist showing off John's hard work and system for these! :)

A.Rhombodus laevis

B.Ptychotrygon

C.Pseudohypolophus mcnultyi

E.fish verts

F.Hybodus sp

G.Carcharias samhammeri

H.Carcharias hardingi

I.Carcharias holmdelensis

J.Squatina hassei

K.Protolamna borodini

L.Lonchidion babulskii

aka Lissodus babulskii

M.Brachial (gill) teeth

N.Ischyrhiza mira oral teeth

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Edited by xonenine

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and here are the "50 gem jar trays", they are available in various configurations

the legend goes on the bottom of the jar for these

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Edited by xonenine

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and here are the "50 gem jar trays", they are available in various configurations

the legend goes on the bottom of the jar for these

I use the "50 gem jar trays" for my shark, ray, fish, mammal etc.micros. I use mostly white foam but do have some black for real light colored teeth. The gem jar trays work real well for display. A major disadvantage is the room that the trays take up. I now have 7 map chests full of these trays with my micros.

Marco Sr.

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I like gem jars and for dark colors I have now started cutting pieces out of an old mattress memory foam cover. I read that suggestion from another member on another post. Shows up nicely.

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you can get the gem jars in white or black. I have been using them for quite a while. They do take up some room, but each tray holds 50 jars. They are the best I have found for displaying the fossils and make a perfect background for pictures. I use a small round label on the bottom of the foam. On it I put the species and a number. A1 - 50, B1- 50, C1- 50 ect................ I then use a spread sheet I made with all pertinant information saved on my computer and backed up on a portable hard drive and a thumb drive.

Edited by sixgill pete

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Now that we are talking about gem jars, you can also get gem jar cabinets from certain auction websites that shall not be mentioned... They have five drawers, each holding 50 gem jars for a total of 250. That would hold a lot of micros. You could also number the gem jars and have a printed sheet of paper in each drawer with a key for information on the 50 specimen in that drawer. I personally favor the white gem jars for most my fossils as they tend to be darker fossils, but occasionally I have a white fossil that pops with black foam filled gem jars.

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They are some really cool ways to display micros, I also think snolly's business card idea is awesome, I will have to try it!

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I just started playing around with microfossils and found some great storage/display slides on ukge.com for dirt cheap. They make a variety of kinds ranging from single cell up to 64 depending on the size of the microfossil your dealing with. Nice thing about them is they store easy, keeping the micro fossils well protected and can be put directly under the microscope for viewing with out having to touch the fossils at all. To hold them in place, they offer vials of a clear glue. If I remember correctly, these slides are around a dollar or two and come in black or white back grounds. They are a hard board back and second leve with glass top and a metal frame clip that holds it all together firmly. So far I have been really happy with them. The picture shows all 4 major types plus the color differences and the glue. Everything in that picture was probally under $10 total.

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I store all my microfossils in 2mlL Microcentrifuge tubes like this one:

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I buy the clear tubes so you can see what is inside without having to remove the specimens from the tube.

These are labeled with my initials, a site number, and a tube number that I enter into my spreadsheet to keep track of the contents.

I use these boxes to store the tubes:

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Each box has its own box number to enter in the spreadsheet.

Not really a great method for displaying the micro, but the fossils are less susceptible to damage than some other methods.

Cost is not much either, I pay about $2 per box and about $15 per 400 tubes.

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UKGE - this is a great resource, thanks for sharing it jual :)

Edited by xonenine

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No problem, I found them a few months ago and love them. Its frustrating that I havent been able to find a US based supplier with half the stuff UKGE sells for anywhere near as good of a price. I buy most of my storage solutions and microfossils supplies through them. They have tons of storage options, including simple self assemble white card stock boxes up to display boxes. I just hate the long ship times. They also have a nice starter kit for fossil prep that comes with some basic but decent quality prep tools in a storage box on sale for half off, I think its something like $13. Really cant beat it.

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Yeah I like UKGE and, thanks to Jualhadun87, I found their Micro fossil section and ordered me some of their slides. You are correct that no one in the US sells these same items for less than lots of 100 which can get pricy for small timers like me. I also have a .pdf sub from UKGE to their Deposits magazine.

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The micropaleo slides that jualhadun87 listed above are perfect for sorting & cataloging forams, ostracods, & other microscopic stuff, but they won't hold anything too deep; use the gem jars for slightly larger & more 3-demensional specimens. The multi-numbered ones are also great for cataloging an entire microfauna from a single site. Also, you might try & find a copy of "Introduction to Microfossils" by Daniel J. Jones; it used to be standard reference material for some micropaleontology courses & lists techniques for collection, preparation, & preservation of microfossils; mounting these little bugs on a micro slide takes a little practice & patience, but certainly presents a more professional product. I've also found that clear plastic CD cases are perfect for storing & displaying these slides. Good luck!

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Thanks for the tip on the book!

There are (at least) '56 and '69 editions: LINK

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